In the Vineyard :: October 16, 2009 :: Volume 8, Issue 18

National News

The United States Supreme Court recently announced that it had decided to deny the application from the Diocese of Bridgeport for a stay that would keep secret thousands of pages of court documents relating to previously settled cases involving the abuse of children by priests.
Click here to read more about VOTF’s position on this issue.

VOTF National Conference on LI
Have you registered for the VOTF conference on Long Island at the end of October? Please do. Our VOTF LI members have been working very hard to put together an interesting and thought-provoking array of speakers. Support VOTF and attend! Add your voice.

Either/Or, Both/And: Déjà Vu!!
An Opinion Piece by Bill Casey

Societal conversations seem to have an insatiable appetite for either/or propositions. Either you’re for health care reform or you’re against the needs of millions of Americans without basic health insurance. Either Senator Kennedy is a moral reprobate or he is the champion of the disadvantaged in society. Too often, the conversation deteriorates from reasonable disagreement to an indictment of the other, as a caption to a 2007 Washington Post article about the debate in Iraq put it, “You’re not just wrong--you’re evil.”

Now comes another potential divide on an issue directly relevant to VOTF’s mission and goals. Just as American seminaries were subjected to a Vatican-initiated “visitation” a few years ago, so now are religious women’s congregations in our country. The stated overall reason (to examine the quality of religious life in these congregations) seems just as spurious as was the reason for the seminary visitation. However the reasons are “spun,” most observers on the right and left view the latest visitation as the next effort by hierarchical leaders to get specific bodies in the Church to “heel” to orthodox belief and behavior. For the right, it is long overdue. For the left, it is the latest abuse of power.


News from the Affiliates

Capuchin Friar Malcolm Maloney Receives Honor
submitted by Joe Schoren

Capuchin friar Malcolm Maloney has been named a "Priest of Integrity" by the Mid-Michigan Affiliate of Voice of the Faithful, a lay organization of faithful Catholics who provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.

A candidate for the Priest of Integrity award 1) Speaks and acts his conscience, proclaiming the truth with humility, courage and compassion without regard for his own future security. 2) Models servant-leadership both in the context of his life and of his ministry  3) Gives credible witness to the truth in both speech and action and 4) Strives to promote Christian dignity.

The award was presented by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton at St. Bonaventure Monastery, Detroit, September 30.

Malcolm explains, "I'm comfortable accepting this award in the name of all of us Capucins. I know we all do our best to be brothers of integrity."


The Platform Teams
Need Your Help

A Call for Help from the SCG Platform
The Team for the Spiritual and Communal Growth Platform is working to facilitate spiritual development and foster community within Voice of the Faithful. We know that unless we are grounded in personal relation with Christ through the Holy Spirit, our efforts are in vain. Prayer and spirituality is the groundwork of all that we do. As Jesus insists: “Without me you can do nothing.” (John, 15:5), and as Paul reminds us: “We can do all things in Christ who strengthens us.” (Phil. 4:13)

Therefore, we are inviting VOTF members and interested supporters to consider responding to your call to discipleship and join our team as we explore ways to deepen our faith and strengthen our solidarity within VOTF. We are looking for help in the following areas:

  • Assisting in researching forms of prayer that have a history of use within our Christian tradition, and developing Prayer Templates based on them for our online Prayer Resource Center.

  • Sharing your writing skills to inspire and motivate our membership.

  • Assisting in the organization, planning and administering of a Spiritual Blog.

  • Assisting in identifying prayer services, themes and events that are in use among our membership.

We know there exists a richness of talent, diversity and experience within our VOTF membership. If you have a background, training or certification in spiritual direction, spiritual mentoring or in facilitating adult spirituality, you may have a special calling to assist us. Please contact one of the following to offer your services:

Ron DuBois,, 781-843-1676 (Co-chair)
Mary Farmer,, 516-807-5314 (Co-chair)

Be a Voice of Prevention, Awareness, and Healing
If you have the experience, the skills, and the time to help us meet these needs, please email

Looking for volunteers to conduct online searches and reviews of sites related to child abuse awareness and prevention. Writing emails and draft summary reviews of sites to share with platform committee. Some knowledge, experience with child abuse prevention issue, education, and/or mental health background helpful. Time commitment: variable and can be modified to meet volunteer’s availability. Contact Kathy or Frances at 513-231-5271 or email us at

Need volunteers with excellent phone skills to make contact with local affiliates/members, to encourage participation in child abuse awareness activities and prevention education initiatives. Background in child protection, mental health or education a plus. Willing to review and become familiar with awareness and prevention education materials in order to promote and motivate others to participate. Time commitment: 20-30 hours over next 4-6 months. Contact Kathy or Frances at 513-231-5271 or email us at

Members willing to conduct basic research about information related to statute of limitation reform in various legislatures. Volunteer will make phone or email contacts with legislative representatives, advocacy groups, or other interest parties and search related websites in order to support content needed for advocacy guidebook. Time commitment: 10 hours in 2009; 15 hours in 2010. Contact Bill at

Members with writing and editing skills to prepare drafts and final composition of sections of the statute of limitations advocacy guide. Time commitment: 20 hours in 2010. Contact Bill at 703-379-6279 or email us at info@votfcpss.

Site seeing

VOTF president Daniel Bartley weighs in on the Supreme Court decision to allow the release of records in the Bridgeport Diocese.

Mercy Sister Theresa Kane Criticizes Church Hierarchy – “If we don’t get angry we won’t make change.”

In a bombshell article published in Rome, the bishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, criticizes the American president and the churchmen who praise him, Curia Cardinal Cottier first among them. But the Vatican secretariat of state is also under fire...

Voices of Our Members

The following editorial was printed in The Hartford Courant on October 15.

The outstanding editorial "Diocese Should Stop Keeping Secrets" [Oct. 10] quotes Bishop William Lori as saying that the First Amendment protects from disclosure internal church documents about fitness for ministry.

In effect, bishops and cardinals say that to practice their Catholic faith, they must have free rein to criminally endanger children, and to be as negligent as they want in supervising sexual predators. The church essentially claims that neutral, generally applicable laws to protect children create a privileged class (them, as clergy) that is immune from that obligation.

Lori should stop the pious drivel about safeguarding religion. The First Amendment does not protect illegal conduct, only religious belief.

No wonder editorial writers and so many others, Catholics and otherwise, have lost patience. We are wearied beyond endurance by prelates acting to protect the institution first. It will be instructive to see if the Nov. 9 hearing on how the documents will be made public will turn into another of Lori's end-runs to frustrate justice.

Carolyn Disco, survivor support chairman, New Hampshire Voice of the Faithful, Merrimack, N.H.

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor
I was somewhat startled to read Pharisee Blog on the website. I think the comments made by the writer are inappropriate and nonproductive. I am reasonably sure that the VOTF does not have a goal of attacking individuals who hold opinions that are contrary to ours (with the possible exception of those in the hierarchy). Ad hominem attacks are not who we are. I was surprised that the blogger is a VOTF fund raising consultant. Are ad hominem attacks the new fund raising strategy?

Jim Beyers

Questions, Comments?

Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor at Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.

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Site Seeing

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